FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. CAN ANYONE GO ON YOUR TOURS?
Yes, our tours provide a great learning experience for anyone interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon and the proposed locations of the events described therein. It is also a wonderful opportunity to learn about the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica, such as the Olmecs, the Maya, the Zapotecs, the Aztecs, and other civilizations. It's also a great vacation destination for the magnificent beauty of the areas we visit. We do recommend that children under 12 stay home unless previous arrangements have been made with us.
2. IS A PASSPORT REQUIRED FOR TRAVEL ON THE TOURS?
Yes. It is necessary to have a current
passport for travel to leave and re-enter the United States. A visa is not required to visit Mexico,
Guatemala, Belize, or Honduras. Tourist
cards are filled out upon entry to each of these countries.
3. ARE THERE ANY VACCINATIONS THAT ARE REQUIRED?
As of June 12, 2022, COVID-19 vaccinations or negative PCR or Antigen tests are no longer required for travel to the destination countries or to return to the United States.
There are no vaccination requirements for
visitors entering Guatemala, Mexico, or Belize.
If you have any health problems, it is recommended that you
check with your personal physician.
4. DO I NEED TO BRING MY PERSONAL MEDICATIONS?
If you have any health problems,
please be sure to bring your medication with you in their original containers.
5. HOW MUCH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS INVOLVED IN THE TOUR?
there is not an excessive amount of walking, the decision to climb the pyramids
may be determined by your own physical condition. You will have the opportunity to climb
several major pyramids during the course of the trip. The most difficult day is Tikal. The tour covers about 3 miles of walking in
approximately 4 hours. Most of the
terrain is foot paths along jungle trails with slopes and steps.
6. WHAT SHOULD I READ OR STUDY PRIOR TO THE TOUR?
The time spent preparing for a
trip to the beautiful and fertile countries of southeastern Mexico and Central
America can greatly enhance the trip itself.
Probably the most important thing you can do is to review the Book of Mormon. You will witness the Book of Mormon come to life as you travel through the areas and
absorb cultures that have been suggested as Book
of Mormon lands. If you desire
additional reading you may want to choose from the following list of LDS
authors. These books are sold at most
Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, 2nd
edition by Dr. Joseph Lovell Allen and Blake Joseph Allen, 2008 (Book of Mormon Tours, LLC) [This book is included in the price of the tour. If you would like additional copies, please call our office at 801.226.5200.
The Book of Mormon Text Reformatted
According to Parallelistic Patterns by Donald W. Parry, 1992 (FARMS)
The Popol Vuh by Allen J. Christenson,
2004 (O Books)
Some good books by non-LDS
Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens
by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube, 2000 (Thames and Hudson, Inc.)
The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal
Diaz, 1517-21 (The Noonday Press, NY)
Incidents of Travel in Central America,
Chiapas and the Yucatan by John Lloyd Stephens, 1841 (Dover Publications)
Distant Neighbors by Alan Riding, 1986
The Maya by Michael Coe, 1987 (4th
edition - Thames and Hudson, Inc.)
A Forest of Kings by Linda Schele and
David Freidel, 1990 (William Murrow & Co.)
7. WHAT IF I AM TRAVELING WITH A MINOR?
If a person under the age of 18
is traveling alone or with only one parent, he/she will need a notarized
statement signed by both parents which states that both parents agree
for that person to travel to a foreign country. This is necessary even if the parents are
divorced. If one of the parents is
deceased, you will need to notify us. (Parent permission forms are available HERE.)
8. WHAT DO I NEED TO PACK FOR THE TOUR?
do not over pack. Limit
yourself to one medium suitcase and one small carry-on, or equivalent. As one person said, “Lay out your clothes,
suitcases and money on the bed. Put away
half of your clothes and double your money, and then you are on your way!” Seriously though, travel as lightly as
possible. Some of the airlines charge for each piece of luggage or have a
weight restriction of 50 pounds per piece that is usually enforced with fees of
$50 or more for each piece that goes over. You may also want to put your name
and address inside your luggage in case the luggage tags on the outside get
ripped off during flights. It is a good idea to leave room in your suitcase for
the many and varied bargains you will find in Mexico and Guatemala. Dress comfortably. One dress for women and a shirt and tie for
men is advisable for church activities.
Other than that, take casual clothes.
You probably should take about four or five changes of clothing and a
light jacket or sweater is also advisable.
Always wear comfortable walking shoes. Sandals are also okay. Don’t
forget your swimming suit as many of the hotels have nice swimming pools. Some hotels do not provide wash cloths, so
you may want to bring your own. Other
items that you may want to pack in a place that is accessible are sunscreen,
insect repellent, wet wipes, camera, film, a Book of Mormon and your copy of Exploring
the Lands of the Book of Mormon or Sacred
Sites. You may also want to bring
along some writing material as you may have the desire to record some of your
experiences along the way. Also, don’t
forget your temple recommend. Where
available, we try to attend a session.
Temple clothing is available for rent at most of the temples. The
temples are closed for maintenance at different times throughout the year so
you need to be aware that a temple may be closed during your trip.
9. WHAT ABOUT ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND
The electrical current in Mexico,
Guatemala, and Belize is the same as in the United States. Occasionally a hotel may have an electrical
outlet where both prong receptacles are the same size. This would require an adapter with narrow
prongs. However, most of the hotel
outlets are the same as ours. If you use
a camera with film, be aware that film is expensive; therefore it is advisable
to purchase an ample amount before you leave.
Many of the archaeological sites and museums are now charging a fee to
take in a video camera (approximately $5 to $10 USD.) Also, if you are bringing a battery that will
need recharging, they sometimes require a three-prong adapter. Photo cards for digital cameras are also
available, but are also expensive. No drones are allowed at the archaeological sites.
10. WHAT ABOUT SECURITY?
Over 500,000 tourists visit
Guatemala and millions visit Mexico each year.
Security is of the utmost concern.
In order to provide the most secure environment possible we stay in
first class hotels which provide their own security. We travel only during daylight hours and only
on main, well-traveled roads. We travel
in large, first class buses regardless of the number of passengers on the
tour. We also provide instruction in
case of robbery threats. It is
recommended that you leave any valuables at home.
11. FOOD AND LODGING
The average family in Mexico
spends 70% of their income on food. In
the United States we spend about 17%.
The food in Mesoamerica is very good and is of great variety. The staple products for centuries have been
corn, beans, and squash; however the average meals almost always consist of
portions of fruit, fish and chicken.
Guatemala and Mexico both have an excellent supply of quality beef. We provide two meals each day. Many of the breakfasts are buffet style, thus
allowing a variety of excellent choices of fruits, cereals, eggs, and
breads. Our afternoon or evening meal
normally consists of soup or salad, a main plate and an excellent choice of desserts. The so-called Mexican foods such as tacos, burritos, chimichangas, etc. do not
have the same taste as our Mexican restaurants do at home. Our fourth son summed it up rather adequately
when he said, “I can hardly wait to get home and go to Taco Bell so I can get
some real Mexican food.” We stay at
deluxe and best available hotels. This
decision has literally been instrumental in the reduction of some health
discomforts. Time is allowed for an additional third meal or snack during the day. No meals are included on the first and last days of the tour. We stay in 4 or 5-star hotels or the best available in the area. The hotels in the large
cities have their own built in purifying systems. The hotels that do not have purifying systems
will provide purified water in bottles for brushing your teeth. You will need to purchase extra water to
consume. Bottled water is widely
12. PAYING FOR YOUR TOUR AND AIRLINE TICKETS
You may pay for tour
with either a check or a credit card. If a credit card is used, a 3.0% fee will
be added. A deposit is required to secure your place on a tour. This amount may vary depending on the
tour. A second payment of $1,000 per person may be due 6 months prior to departure. Full payment is due 60 days prior
stated, airfare is not included in the price of the tour. You may arrange for
your own round trip airfare or work with a travel agent. You may also use
frequent flyer miles and will need to work directly with the airlines. Please let us know so that we can coordinate
your flight times with the rest of the group.
All internal airfare will be arranged for by Book of Mormon Tours.
13. CLIMATE CONDITIONS IN MESOAMERICA
The climate varies considerably,
depending upon the time of year and the elevation. As opposed to summer and
winter, the weather in Mesoamerica is addressed as either the rainy season
(May-October) or the dry season (November-April). The hottest months of the year are April and
May. If you travel during the rainy
season, it is advisable to carry an umbrella or an inexpensive poncho. Most of
the time we are able to either be on the bus or inside a building during the
rainy time, which usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes per day during the rainy
season, but there are some places that might surprise us. The greatest
determining factor of the climate is the elevation. Approximately 75% of any given tour takes
place in mountainous regions which range in elevation from 5000-7200 feet
elevation. As a result, the evenings are
cool and the days are mild. The coastal
areas, including the Yucatan, Belize and the Peten jungle of Guatemala are
often hot and humid. The Gulf of Mexico,
in the Mexican States of Veracruz and Tabasco, is subject to rain year round. Bring
a light jacket or sweater or sweatshirt for evenings and early mornings and for
flights and bus travel. The rainy season
is from July to November.
The Mexican currency is called
the PESO. The current (2024) exchange
rate is approximately $16 (pesos) to $1.00 U.S. dollar. Guatemala’s currency is called QUETZALES
(Quetzal-singular). The current exchange
rate is approximately Q7.50 to $1.00 US dollar.
While traveling throughout Belize, US currency is used interchangeably
with the Belize dollar which has half the value of the U.S. dollar. We are often asked how much money should be
taken on tour for personal expenses.
This amount varies widely from person to person; some will purchase one
or two souvenirs and an occasional snack, while others will spend more money on
local handicrafts than they did on the tour itself. Regardless, it is recommended that you keep
cash at a minimum as ATM machines are becoming more available throughout
Mesoamerica. You will need your PIN number. There is a fee for ATM cash
withdrawals and your home bank may also charge a fee for using your ATM
internationally. You will also want to
let your bank know that you will be using your card internationally so they don’t
shut it down thinking that your card has been stolen. Some hotels can exchange
money, but they are often limited to the amount they can exchange. Airport currency exchange kiosks are typically quite expensive. Traveler’s
checks are very difficult to exchange and should not be used.
you are going to bring cash, it is advisable to bring small denominations, $1,
$5, $10, $20. Try to make sure that
there are no tears (rips) or writing on the bills as they are not accepted very
well. Always have your passport with you when changing money.
The unique items that are made
by outstanding artisans in both Mexico and Guatemala, along with the price,
make for some interesting shopping. Each
area, including small towns, tends to make something that is peculiar to their
own community. For example, obsidian
comes from Teotihuacan, jade from Oaxaca and Guatemala, and onyx is
manufactured in Puebla. Because of this,
a rule of thumb when shopping is that if you see something that you want at the
price you want, purchase it. You may not
see that same item again in the course of the trip. A visit to a native marketplace puts one in
the same dilemma as Bernal Diaz, a soldier in the army of the conquering
Cortez. In the 16th century,
Bernal Diaz wrote: “I could wish that I had finished telling of all the things
which are sold there, but they are so numerous of such different quality and
the great marketplace with its surrounding arcade was so crowded with people,
that one would not have been able to see and inquire about it in two days”
(Diaz, p.217). Bargaining is a native tradition. Usually if you show an interest and then wait
for them to bargain, the price will be lowered.
Most vendors are excellent salesmen.
Also, some prices are marked, and that price will normally not be
lowered. It never hurts to ask,
however. All in all, the people are very
friendly and cordial. It is advisable to
learn an easy way of recognizing the money value as you could come up on the
short end. By the same token, we have
seen sales lost for less than 25 cents due to the desire to get a lower price,
not realizing that it was such a small difference.
It is well to familiarize
yourself with the customs and traditions of the people. “Gracias” (thank you) is very appropriate
after meals and other occasions. We discourage
the taking of candies for the purpose of throwing out the bus windows to
children. It is both demeaning and
dangerous for the youngsters. Little
children do, however, often ask for pencils or other school supplies to be used
when they go to school. But again, you
must be very careful in handing them out.
We have seen groups of children nearly knock a person to the ground in
their eagerness to get the pencils. On
our tours that include Guatemala, we often visit a local school. The school welcomes any school supplies that
you may wish to bring along. Politeness
and a sincere smile is certainly the universal language. Speak as much Spanish as you can. The time on the trip is an excellent
opportunity to practice and even to learn some words and phrases, even if you
have never spoken any Spanish.
There is bottled water available
for purchase in most airports, restaurants, stores and most of the hotels. Some of our hotels have purified water
systems and will provide you with bottled water in your room. It is recommended
that you use bottled water for brushing your teeth even if the water system in
purified. Additional bottles of water can be purchased almost everywhere. The restaurants where we eat serve purified
water and ice that is made from purified water.
Most people find that the two meals
per day that are provided on the tour are usually all they want to eat, however
you may bring snacks from home (trail mix, nuts, etc.), or you can purchase
packaged chips, cookies, candy, etc. in the hotel gift shops and other stores. If you bring things from home, keep them in
their original packaging. If it is necessary that you eat at regular times, it
would be a good idea to have something in your carry-on in case of emergencies.
There are no self-serve laundry
facilities in any of the hotels except for laundry services offered by the
hotels; however, they are quite expensive and can only be used when there is a two-night
stay in the hotel. You probably will
prefer to do your own laundry in your own bathroom. Travel size laundry soaps are available at
stores at home to bring with you.
20. CHECKING IN AT THE AIRPORT
Please remember to be at the
airport at least two to three hours prior to departure. Also, remember to have your passport in a handy place as you will
have to show it to the ticket agent when you board your outbound flight as
well as when you enter a new country. Do
not tuck them away in your luggage that is going to be checked in. Be sure your luggage is checked all the way
through to your final destination and labeled with your name and address. Please visit the Transportation Security
Administration for more details on travel and restricted items at
There will be no
liquids, pastes, gels, or any fluids of any kind allowed in your carry-on
unless they are in a clear bottle, 3 oz or less. They also must be in a clear zip lock
bag. This includes contact solution,
lotions, toothpaste, hairspray, hair gel, sunscreen, mouthwash, etc. If you require medications or insulin during
the flight they must be accompanied with the prescriptions properly labeled
with the passenger’s name. If you are
traveling with an infant, you will be allowed to have formula, juice and water for
them that will be verified as such. Please adjust your packing habits so as not
to delay yourself and others in the security line. If you have these items in
your carry-on and they do not follow the packing guidelines above, you will be
asked to throw them away at the security area. If you have any questions on
what you can pack in your carry-on, please call the airline directly.
21. DEPARTURE TAX
You need to be aware that there
are departure tax fees that must be paid either when entering or departing from
each country visited. The current tax
rate for Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize is approximately $30 to $40 per person for each country. This tax is not included in the price of the
insurance is your responsibility. We do not include insurance for the tour. You
may want to check to see if your health insurance policy will cover you while
traveling, and some home owner's policies cover lost luggage or stolen
articles. If you would like trip cancellation insurance please visit our
website at www.bookofmormontours.com and click on the link at the bottom of the
home page for Allianz Global Insurance for more information. (CLICK HERE)
23. A STATEMENT ON BOOK OF MORMON CORRELATIONS
The places visited in
Mesoamerica are representative of Book of
Mormon lands, and it is recommended that they be viewed as such. To totally lock into a specific Book of Mormon geographical view,
without leaving room for an escape hatch can place one in a precarious
position. It has been frustrating for
some people who have traveled to Mesoamerica, having been exposed to possible Book of Mormon correlations, only to
have their enthusiasm deflated by someone who has not had the same
experience. Therefore, a tentative
caution is recommended, realizing that there are even differences of opinion
among those who systematically study the area in relationship to the Book of Mormon. Nevertheless, there are some exciting and
verifiable correlations in relation to the Book
of Mormon that causes one to read the Book
of Mormon through different eyes as the trip is concluded. One is indeed justified in labeling Mesoamerica
as the lands of the Book of Mormon for
the following reasons:
1. The only place where a written language was
in use during Book of Mormon times was
2. The majority of the archaeological sites
which date to Book of Mormon time
period are in Mesoamerica.
3. Written and oral traditional statements
correlate with the culture patterns and events in
the Book of Mormon.
4. The geographical pattern required in the Book of Mormon compares favorably with Mesoamerica.
you success as you prepare for the great experience that awaits you, and we
look forward to being with you in the proposed lands of the Book of Mormon.